Friday, May 29

What Ever Happened To: Tracey Lee?

It's paaaaaaaaarty time. Ohhhhh, it's paaaaaaaaarty time. Having a partyyyyyy, come on!

On this edition of Forgotten Fridays we reminisce over you, Tracey Lee. The Philly bred rapper had moderate commercial success and made a splash in 1997 with club rockin, house party anthem "The Theme" (It's Party Time)" [above]. I swear to Jesus, they played this song every damn day on BET in 1997. You couldn't get away from it.

Even though Tray Lee was from Philly, he pretty much held down Washington D.C., being that he was attending Howard University when his debut album, Many Facez dropped. I think I'm one of the only 17 people on the planet who bought the CD but straight up, I can't front on that album. It's actually pretty dope. It was a pseudo-concept album in which Tracey Lee took on the "many faces" of his personality and actually rhymes from the perspective of his 5 different personas: L. (the rhymer), Tray (the smooth playboy), LR (the rugged and serious one who sounded like Rock from Heltah Skeltah), Rock (the party goer, who sounded nothing like Rock fro Heltah Skeltah), and Mr. Lee (the business man). He even changed his flow and voice for every one. It was kinda clever, and kinda corny at the same time. But it worked.

Regardless, the album is an underrated gem. The truly amazing thing about it was that he somehow managed to get Busta Rhymes and Biggie Smalls to make guest appearances. This was a no-name rapper outta Philly who had 2 of the biggest rap stars on the planet on his debut album. The Biggie collab isn't that far fetched, considering Tracey Lee was attending Howard, which was also Puffy's alma mater, and he and Big would always be up at the campus for shows and to Party & Bullshit. But Busta Rhymes? Who knows. The Busta song, "The After Party" [below] is also one of the best songs on the album. Other stand out tracks include: Stars In The East, Rugged One, Keep Your Hands High (ft. Biggie Smalls).

So, what ever happened to Tracey Lee? He only dropped one album, and then he dropped from the face of the hip hop landscape. Well, according to his MySpace page, which he keeps current and check regularly, he just graduated from Law School at The Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, LA where he received his Juris Doctorate in the field of Law. Looks like he wasn't just making rap song while he was at Howard.

He is currently making moves as a music attorney, and says, "I hope to not only put myself in a better position to navigate my way through the ups and downs of the music business, but also, and more importantly, I want to provide the type of guidance and knowledge to those that are new to the game that will enable them to make informed decisions, as it relates to their music careers."

That's what's up, Tray. It's good to see a rap artist who left the game for bigger and better things, instead of street corners and G-packs of crack. Or prison. Props to you Tracey Lee, and those songs you made 12 years are still knockin in my iPod today. We salute you. I even found him on Twitter. Follow him and show some love.

Thank you,
Hip Hop Official: Finding rappers who the masses have forgotten.

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